The 12 Tips of Christmas
Myotherapist, Alana Pryor
Excited for Christmas? We are!
In the midst of parties, decorations, food and fun we have a few tips that can help you get through the silly season.
It’s December. You can now officially start decorating. But wait…before you sling that christmas tree over your shoulder, do you remember how to lift safely?
Put those squat exercises into action:
● Get a good grip before you lift
● Bend at the knees. Let your legs do the work. Feel those glutes.
● Hug the item close to you.
● Avoid twisting movements. Keep your toes, knees and body facing the same direction.
● How large is this item? Would two people lifting make it easier and safer?
The same applies when loading and unloading your christmas shopping, groceries and bags. Two trips from the car to the kitchen are definitely better than multiple trips to your physio and Christmas with a sore back.
Not an ideal lifting technique for those larger items.
The exercise preparing your glutes for all that lifting.
● Lie on your side. Knees bent at 45 degrees. Shoulders in line with hips. Hips stacked on top of one another. Rest head on lower arm, use top arm to steady yourself.
● Use your deep abdominals and pelvic floor to maintain this position.
● Keeping your big toes touching, slowly rotate your top leg in your hip socket to open
knee. Open as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Leave your lower leg
on the floor.
● Slowly return your upper leg to the start position.
● Repeat the clam 5 times, then change sides.
3. Stay hydrated
Drink your water. Heat, alcohol and those delicious Christmas treats can all take a toll on the body. Keep up your water intake to beat dehydration, headaches and fatigue.
4. Body and Mind.
The pressures of the holiday season can be particularly demanding. Look after your body and mind. Anxiety, depression and stress are very common during the festive season. Remember that things don’t have to be perfect. Look at your successes and wins of the year and if making New Years’ goals and resolutions, take this time to set them and make them achievable. If things do feel overwhelming, asking for help is best.
5. Be sun smart.
Sunscreen? Hat? Cover up? Sunglasses? Check. You are ready. A bright red singlet mark is super uncomfortable and not a great look. Try and organise outdoor activities when the UV rating is lower. Before 10am and after 4pm. If it’s unavoidable, look for shade and apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outdoors and after swimming or physical activity. Set a reminder to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
6. Listen to your body.
Shoulders and feet aching from all the shopping? Carrying all those decorations created a pain in the neck? Listening to your body for signs of injury or that it needs some extra care is important. If you are feeling any reduced movement, stiffness, pain or soreness, seek professional health care. Performance Medicine is open during the holiday period if you need us.
7. Bow and arrow
A Performance Medicine favourite. This exercise is a lovely way to ease tight muscles, open the chest, encourage gentle movement of the spine and allow you to breath again.
● Lying on your side, hips bent at 90 degrees, arms stretched straight in front of you (use a pillow for your head if you need)
● Bend your top arm and rotate your body away from the bottom outstretched arm (like drawing an arrow). Follow your arm with your head. Breathe out.
● Breathe in as you return to the starting position
● x 8 reps. Reverse on other side.
8. Christmas Travel.
Long drives and plane trips are a part of many people’s holiday experience. You’ve mentally prepared yourself for the journey but how about physically?
● Any niggles in your neck or body? Come in and see one of our physiotherapists or myotherapists before the trip for some personalised care and advice.
● Take care when loading and unloading your luggage. On arrival, go for a walk, a swim, or stretch.
● Take a break every two hours. Walk, stretch, grab a snack. This helps your back and decreases driver fatigue. Stuck on a plane? Move around the cabin and do some seated exercises.
● How’s your seat? Your hips should be level with or higher than your knees. Use a wedge to adjust your hip height. If you are driving adjust your seat forwards or backwards so that when your arms are straight (elbows slightly bent) in front and over the steering wheel your wrists are resting on top of the wheel.
● Use additional lumbar support to maintain your spinal curvature.
9. Keep Moving.
We know the Christmas drill. Eat. Nap it off. Repeat. It’s fantastic to relax and of course, you deserve a break. But with the latest research suggesting sitting is the new smoking, holidays should involve some moving. Avoid sitting in one spot for more than 30 minutes without a short break. Walking, riding, swimming are fun holiday friendly activities that get you moving. In saying that…start slow. If you haven’t done a lot of exercise recently or some time has passed since your last game of backyard cricket, warm up, ease gently into it.
10. Calf raise
If you want a little exercise to keep you going through the break, the calf raise is a good all rounder. Keeping the lower body strong and stable and ready for action when the holiday is over. Even better – they can be done anywhere at anytime, at the service station, in the airport, at your kitchen bench.
● Stand near a wall with your hands on the wall for support and balance.
● Lift one foot off the ground, pointing it behind you. Slowly rise up on the ball of your standing foot as high as you can go.
● Slowly lower back down to the ground, not allowing your heel to touch the ground in between repetitions.
● x10-12 reps.
● Repeat on other leg.
11. No thongs
Say this out loud: thongs are not my friends. They don’t provide support and can aggravate injuries and pain, especially in people who usually wear orthotics and supportive shoes.
12. A spiky ball fits in any suitcase.